In the second round of games for both the Badgers men’s and women’s soccer teams this week, both squads saw less than favorable results.
The men suffered a 5-2 defeat at the hands of Northwestern on Tuesday, a shootout that put on display the total goal-fest that college games can often become. The Badgers started slowly, conceding three goals in the first 30 minutes before junior Henri Tophoven found the back of the net with a solo goal to score Wisconsin’s first of the season.
The visiting Wildcats (though Loves Park is more or less a neutral venue anyway) would tack on two more goals in the second half, the second of which was immediately countered by a Badger consolation by Andrew Akindele.
Freshman Murat Calkap sticks to it and sets up junior Andrew Akindele for his first goal since freshman year pic.twitter.com/FNmHmFq72U— Wisconsin Soccer (@BadgerMSoccer) February 23, 2021
An interesting note was goalkeeper Sven Kleinhas played the full 90 minutes, an interesting change from the opener which saw him split time with Carter Abbott. One bright spot can also be found in the continued emergence of rookie Murat Calkap, who notched his first career assist in another strong performance as one of the team’s three freshman starters.
The women’s team traveled to Columbus just days later to take on the Buckeyes, and dropped their contest as well, by a 3-1 scoreline. In a game Wisconsin was expected to win to keep pace in the Big Ten title race, an emerging Ohio State side caught the visitors flatfooted and went into halftime up 2-0, behind a brace from Emma Sears.
In the dying moments of the match Claire Odmark slotted home her second goal in two games to draw the Badgers within striking distance of an equalizer, but any hope of a late comeback were nixed when Sears broke free minutes later and calmly completed her hat trick just seconds before the final whistle blew.
The silver lining of the game is that it serves as further confirmation that the team will be able to fill the goal-scoring gap left by Dani Rhodes’ departure. Odmark’s emergence as a threat, and her partnership with fellow forwards Cameron Murtha and Emma Jaskaniec, is quickly proving critical to the Badgers’ offensive success.
The men’s side will be back in action on Saturday in Loves Park, as they take on Rutgers, while the women’s team will travel to Ann Arbor, Mich. on Monday for a crucial matchup with fellow title contender Michigan.